ARLC close to finalising a proposal for eligibility row

Eligibility has been a contentious topic for quite some time now, but the Australian Rugby League Commission may have found a process that has the potential to work, once it is finalised – declaring that players who represent the Junior Kiwis, are not eligible to play for Australia.

As it currently stands, junior Test games have no bearing on future eligibility, as James Tamou and Ben Te’o have seen – playing for the Junior Kiwis, only to represent Australia later on.

Andrew Hill, the ARLC’s Director of League Integration and Development, has been given the job to resolve the eligibility row, and under his plan, neither Tamou nor Te’o would be eligible for Australia.

With the issue still a contentious one until something concrete is confirmed and produced, when it comes to dual nationality of a player, that is more complicated.

“We are looking at further amendments to the guidelines, particularly dual eligibility,” Hill said.

“We have drafted a document which is being road tested by six people with huge experience of the international game and State of Origin, and we’re confident of having something in place for the 2013 season.”

Cases such as Josh Papalii, who represent the Junior Kiwis, but moved across the Tasman at just age 6, were the more complicated sagas to deal with.

In order for the plan to go through, however, it has to be rubber stamped by the Rugby League International Federation – something Hill hopes is merely a formality.

“In essence, every decision is different and not straightforward,” Hill said.

“Some players with dual nationality moved to this country at a young age.

“This clearly makes it difficult to say what makes you eligible to play for Australia and Origin or not.”

With players often declaring that they will play for Australia in order to play Origin, Hill said that such comments from the Federation Chief in Scott Carter, can be dismissed.

“It’s highly unlikely that will happen,” he said.

“There are rules we have control over and there are things we have to work with the RLIF on.

“That’s what we hope to do and I am confident we’ll have something in place at the start of next year.”

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